table for one. in conclusion

As the final chapter of the birth table for one. draws to a conclusion, I’m reflecting on how different my life is from the first attempts at writing sitting in The Brain on that fateful Art Crawl night after Larry’s diagnosis.

Seven years.  Seven.  Fucking.  Years.  Four surgeries.  Three deaths.  One nervous breakdown.  Five days of recording.  One album.  One life.

I’m far less angry.  I’m far less scared.  I’m far less impatient.  I’m far less tolerant of negativity.

Throughout all of this change, I have been re-evaluating my life and what it means to be me.  An old acquaintance used to say “Simplify and do everything.” as a joke, however this saying has summed up the past three years of my life.  As I jettison the trappings and detritus I have had surrounding me, the resulting physical, mental and emotional space is allowing me to focus more on things that are important to me.

As my life becomes simpler, I’m able to focus on more.  I’m also making important choices that have impacted on my happiness and health in a positive manner.

Seven years ago, I was close to four hundred pounds, having replaced my chemical addictions with food to medicate my unhappiness.  Seven years ago, I was so focused on my career that both my health and chosen form of expression (music) languished and suffered.  I was in my thirties with sleep apnea, high blood pressure, failing knees and ankles and pre-diabetic.

I thought I was happy, but truly the one light in my life was diagnosed with cancer and we focused on fighting the battle for his life.  Fast forward to now and I’ve survived the loss of my husband, my father, a beloved animal companion, been through a year of treatment for PTSD and anxiety, continue to battle my weight, keeping it down to a healthy level.

I am now hovering around two hundred pounds, eating a clean diet, drug and alcohol free almost thirteen years, breathing easily and most of my other health issues have resolved.

I am also writing further music that reflects a need to carry on, to learn and grow, as well as collaborating with other songwriters and music makers…my catharsis is complete – time to remove my life from suspended animation and continue moving forward.

Simplify and do everything indeed.



no such thing as a free ride: budgeting for an album explained

I’m going to preface this with the fact that I’m happy, overwhelmed and honoured by the response to table for one., both the live show and the recording.  However, this is my response to the most asked question about this.
Well folks, it’s happened.  Less than 24 hours of being available online, I’ve had the inevitable requests for a free copy of table for one.
If this happens in person, the person asking will likely get a head tilt, followed by “the look” and then a brief and simple “no.” from me.
If you were going to get a free copy of the $10 download or the $15 CD, you would have been notified of it already – my next list is the folks who graciously pre-paid for copies of table for one. along with their tickets to the August 28, 2016 concert.  These folks should expect their email from me by the end of the day!
However, even as a labour of love, I cannot simply afford to give my music away.  And honestly, as it represents 7 years’ of my life distilled down into 10 songs, putting a monetary value on it hurts.   But it also represents a LOT of work and the accounting below does not include the hours of writing, rewriting, rehearsal, travel and administrative work necessary to produce such a document.
Keep in mind that I did this album as frugally as I could without resorting to doing it myself on Garageband, as I wanted to focus on the actual performances while an incredible professional focused on technical things like microphone placement and compression.
I’m grateful for the folks who have supported me, however I’d like to at least break even on this, so I can continue to afford to make music.  So, if I don’t offer you a free download or CD…this is why.
You will note that even on such a small budget, I still have quite a way to go before even recuperating the expenses of producing this album and why I’m equally frugal with who gets free copies of my life’s work.  I make music because I love doing it and I’m driven to do so.  I’m not asking for huge success, I’m hoping it will be at least self-supporting.

and now a commercial message

Hi folks!

As I approach the final stages of pre-production for my recording project “table for one.” I realized that the scope of the project had become slightly larger than I had initially anticipated.

What initially started as a simple song cycle about my experiences as a musician turned out to be more complex than I had ever imagined as I composed songs celebrating the triumphs of my husband’s recovery from cancer and then his passing from the ravages of that very same disease.

These days “table for one.” has both figuratively and literally taken on far more personal a meaning than establishing myself as a solo performer. During the writing process for this work, what initially started as a ten to twelve song cycle, has exploded into a thirty four song behemoth, which has since been pruned back into a more manageable and concise statement.

However there are a LOT of extra songs all of which have merit and deserve to be shared – however they just do not fit within the scope of “table for one.” anymore.
So in order to handle the following two major dilemmas:
1) Funding the production of “table for one.”
2) Allowing these orphan songs to be heard.

I am offering this to my friends and supporters!

Over the next year, while recording “table for one.”, I am also recording these orphan songs as well as a few other items ranging from cover songs that have inspired me to longer, more experimental works. I will be releasing these recordings on a monthly basis for you to stream, listen, enjoy and possibly even pay to download.

Starting April 28, 2014 I will post one of these orphaned songs for streaming and downloading from my Bandcamp site at $2.00. If you like what you hear, you CAN pay more than $2.00 through the magic of bandcamp!

Every four weeks there will be a new release uploaded to Bandcamp.

You can also subscribe to the complete series of downloads for a minimum amount of $20.00. I will email subscribers when there is a new download available, complete with a link and download code to get your next song.

As incentive to this campaign, subscribers and those non-subscribers who have paid to download every song over the next year will also receive a free download of “table for one.” when it is released on April 14, 2015! Think of this as a “reverse kickstarter” where you get the incentives before the closing date! There may be even some surprise downloads during the next year in between the regularly scheduled downloads as a thank you to my generous subscribers (HINT HINT)!

For those folks who wish to pay more for their subscriptions or total individual downloads in order to support the production of “table for one.” I DO have other incentives for them as well!

$50.00 gets you the complete set of downloads of the individual songs, a download of “table for one.” AND a physical copy of “table for one.” on CD

$100.00 gets you the complete set of downloads of the individual songs, a download and CD copy of “table for one.” and a limited edition, hand bound booklet with lyrics, photos and other notes from the writing and recording of this project.

$250.00 gets you the complete set of downloads of the individual songs, a download and CD copy of “table for one.” the limited edition, hand bound booklet with lyrics, photos and other notes from the writing and recording of this project and an original piece of photographic artwork from me!

$500.00 gets you the complete set of downloads of the individual songs, a download and CD copy of “table for one.” the limited edition, hand bound booklet with lyrics, photos and other notes from the writing and recording of this project, an original piece of photographic artwork from me and a house concert at a date and time agreed upon by you and I after the April 14, 2015 release of “table for one.”

as tears go by

It is the evening of the day
I sit and watch the children play
Doing things I used to do
They think are new
I sit and watch
As tears go by

M. Jagger, K. Richards

The past week has been one of mixed emotions for me and filled with both tears of sorrow and joy.   Between the angst of DH’s health issues and helping him emotionally as best I can and the other highs (music, family) and lows (work) in my life, I’ve had a rather odd week, filled with tears both positive and negative.

My day job involves working with people who are injured and most likely in a transitional phase in their lives as they are coping with recovering from their injuries and other factors in their day-to-day lives (work, family, social adjustments).  As I am dealing with folks who have been in the system for prolonged basis, I often get folks who have long-term disabilities resulting in changes that will affect their lives and livelihoods permanently.

Due to recent policy changes and management style, we have been reviewing many of these longer-term clients and adjusting the services and support we are offering them, more often than not, denying access to services many of these clients have had for years.  This has been tough and recently the anticipated (and somewhat devastating) outcome of one such decision came to fruition last week.  The decision-maker was, of course, on vacation and I was left to pick up the pieces.

My comment on twitter was that I was sure that I had no tears left inside me; however work indeed proved me wrong!

I had recently been contacted by a musician I admire and respect regarding doing some teaching/counselling for their organization.  I don’t know how I landed in their radar, however I was honoured that they reached out to me and asked me to talk about my music and how it relates to and reflects my philosophical vision and spirituality.  The first year I was asked, I was in a rather transitional phase and felt I was not ready to take on such a leadership role, however this year I was, but am unable to due to obvious reasons.

I called this musician and asked them if I could postpone to next year and was told that the invitation is standing and open and that they hoped I would consider becoming a permanent member of their team.  Tears began to flow again – this time tears of joy to be honoured so.  I am a lucky person to have supportive folks behind me who believe in me, even when I do not.

In one of my “music listography” blog postings, I posted a list of music I felt I needed to focus on more, which apparently hit on the radar of a drummer whom I regard rather highly as it included his music.  He wrote a comment on the blog posting in question and also contacted me directly.  More tears – of excitement this time.

I had been attempting to secure a particular piece of music equipment that will allow me to record guitars and basses easily, as well as serve as a live performance tool that will allow me to travel more lightly and carry less stuff with me in general.  It arrived and in the process of playing with it over the past week, I happened upon a tone that just worked for one of the songs on table for one. that has been a sticking point for me.

Writers block overcome in this case, more tears! 

There’s still more musical news, but some of it, I can’t say at the moment, but when the time comes, it will be announced!  Finally, I had a lovely weekend visit from my brother and his family, taking them to the local farmer’s market and one of my favourite cafés for brunch and a beverage.  It was nice just getting a chance to sit and talk with them not surrounded by family at a big gathering.  It sadly just doesn’t happen all that often anymore.

DB has commented that I must be suffering from emotional whiplash these days – it’s closer to that queasy, motion sickness, feeling after being on a roller coaster or the Magic Tea Cups…

music listography: list bands and genres of music to explore someday

I’m always open to new bands and genres of music to explore and have quite a varied taste and collection in music.  I like listening to people making creative music that defines who they are and represents a solid musical statement about an individual.

  • Broken Social Scene (I love this band live, but have never focused on their recorded products)
  • Do Make Say Think (I love this band live, but have never focused on their recorded products)
  • Grateful Dead (I loved this band live, but have never focused on their recorded products)
  • Kira Small
  • Matraca Berg (genius singer/songwriter who has written some very famous songs for very famous artists, however the best she has saved for herself)
  • Scott Matthews
  • Dawes/Simon Dawes
  • Sunparlour Players
  • Channing & Quinn
  • Johnny Cash (focusing on the American Songs years)
  • Miles Davis (the post Pangaea/Agharta years)
  • The Cinematic Orchestra
  • Neutral Milk Hotel
  • Kylesa
  • Mark Genry
  • Ghosts
  • Pomplamoose/Nataly Dawn/Jack Conte
  • Foxtails Brigade
  • JD Blair
  • Dubstep
  • Bluegrass/Newgrass
  • My own music…constantly evolving but now coalescing into a statement now that I’ve found my current “true” voice.

it’s been an incredible couple of weeks

Yup, it’s been kind of quiet here, mostly due to my actually living my life off line the past couple of weeks!

A few weeks back, I let slip that I was heading into the recording studio to start on a new recording project.  Followers of my facebook and twitter feeds have seen action shots of yours truly, which provided visual confirmation of a fun and creative time had by myself in the recording studio.  In the course of the days spent working on my studio tan I had the pleasure of recording:

  • Acoustic guitars
  • Electric guitars
  • 12 string guitar
  • Hammertone Octave 12 Guitar (thanks George)
  • Bass guitars
  • Upright bass
  • Prophet 5 Synth
  • Wurlitzer electric piano
  • Lead vocals
  • Backing vocals
  • Spoken word
  • Drums and percussion

Yup it was a fun and varied week of making noise.  Expect TWO (yup count ‘em, 2) major recording projects from me over the next few months.  The first being another CD of more Balderdash and Humbug holiday insanity entitled “The 55 Days of Christmas”, the second being “table for one.”

“55 Days of Christmas” will be released in September/October and there will be a holiday release party complete with Christmas baked goodies, specialty holiday coffees and an early visit from Santa to share your Christmas wishes and get a picture taken.   I have a few other surprises up my sleeve for the release party, so watch here, my twitter feed and the Balderdash and Humbug facebook page for more information!

‘table for one.” is scheduled for release in early 2013, depending on how recording goes.  Direction has changed a bit through the generosity of DB leading to new inspiration into how the songs should be presented.  It’s going to be a little more organic in presentation than my prior posting had indicated, which is good in my opinion…but it’s still gonna be different than anything else I’ve done in the past, so watch out!

While in North Carolina, I had the pleasure of attending a concert by bluegrass/jazz guitarist Tony Rice.  His show was incredibly inspirational, particularly with the addition of Rob Ickes on dobro, who blew me away with his virtuosic abilities on his instrument.

After returning home from North Carolina, I had two whirlwind days back at the orifice, cleaning up the mess of almost two weeks off.  Then on Friday, I welcomed a guest into my home for the weekend.

Trip Wamsley is a solo bassist, whom I have been watching on YouTube and listening to on Bandcamp for the past few years, he has truly impressed me with his abilities on bass guitar and as a musician performing beautiful lyrical music.  Recently we have been connecting via twitter, which has led to discussions of our shared loves of music, Rush and coffee.

(hmmm…bassists and coffee:  Tony Levin, Steve Lawson, Trip Wamsley and me – interesting discussion and interview idea there)

In January, I contacted Trip on the possibility of hosting him for a house concert and he agreed to this.  We scheduled last Saturday as the date for the concert and preparations began accordingly.  He arrived, rather frazzled after a harrowing immigration experience, on Friday night and I proceeded to show him about Hamilton, taking in a couple of cafes and James St. North., ending up on the front porch of a friend for drinks and a fun conversation ranging from music to politics to personal hygiene products (hey I said it was fun!)

On Saturday George Furlanetto of F Bass, local manufacturer of incredible bass guitars and other instruments, invited Trip for a factory tour where we got to test some of his instruments and the amplifiers he is distributing.  It was a lovely time and I definitely plan on ordering a bass as soon as I can swing the financial end of it.  Between planned upcoming CD releases and medical expenses, I hope this can be sooner than later, but I am truly in love with those F Basses!

After a tour of the F Bass factory, we went for a quick coffee at Cannon Coffee Co and then an early Indian dinner at Himalaya, heading home to set up for the house concert.  I assisted Trip with the setup as much as I could and awaited the guests.  We had a fair, albeit small, turnout – I guess solo bassists aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but they were appreciative of his talents.  He played for two hours and also demonstrated how F Bass’ products sound as George brought a lovely sample for him to play as can be seen here.

We then spent the rest of the evening talking, music, basses and the music industry in general.  It was a pleasant evening and I really enjoyed the opportunity to talk to an incredible bassist and an incredible luthier – George even checked out one of my basses and offered to tweak it to his standards – really nice of him to do so!

The next day after we attended church, Trip wanted to go to Toronto, so I took him in and gave him a Whirlwind tour of downtown, including the Beach and also taking him to the Ontario Legislature where the album cover of Rush’s “Moving Pictures” was photographed.  Trip lost his mind when he saw that!  We drove home after a long day and he crashed for the evening as he had a long day of driving ahead of him.

I would like to say that as a performer, Trip is skilled and has wonderful music, he is also incredibly funny and had the audience in the palm of his hand for the two hours he entertained us.  He is also a wonderful house guest and I look forward in getting to know him better in the future.

Now I’m back to work and it’s time for a rest!